The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded approximately $6 million in grants to five recipient organizations under the Basic Research to Enable Agricultural Development (BREAD) program.
The BREAD program was jointly funded with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with a stated focus on novel, transformative basic research at the proof-of-concept stage that addresses major constraints to the productivity of crops important to smallholder farmers, or on the development of novel and efficient production practices.
Among the awardees is a team of collaborators from Cornell University, University of Washington, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) (Nigeria), USDA-ARS and IITA (Cameroon) whom have identified a set of protein biomarkers that can identify vector competent populations of aphids, the most important vectors of plant viruses. Receiving an $868K grant over 3 years, the researchers will exploit these biomarkers and determine applicability to other plant viruses effecting staple food crops.
Scientists at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), and the National Institute for Agronomical Research (INRA) will join forces to use new synthetic biology technologies to create strains of mycoplasma mycoides subspecies mycoides that can be developed as live vaccine candidates for the prevention of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia, an economically very important livestock disease within Africa. The group received a $2.2M grant.
A complete list of BREAD awards can be accessed on the National Science Foundation Directorate for Biological Sciences website.